When people tell me they want to quit their job to travel the world, they often have many fears that prevent them from doing it. They have fears about their career, security, traveling alone, if it’s dangerous, and many other valid fears. But because of those fears, they stay where they are at because it’s comfortable and it’s what they’re used to. Although fears do protect us from dangerous situations, fears also prevent us from going after our dreams and what we want.
Fear is one of the most common reasons why people do not travel the world.
My fears were the number one reason why I didn’t quit my job to travel sooner. For many years, I didn’t listen to my heart and put off my dreams of traveling the world. I gave into my fears and I unexpectedly and unintentionally allowed my fears to control my life. I don’t want this to happen to you too. When we can overcome our fears and realize that it’s holding us back from what we truly want, then we can really achieve anything we want. In this post, I go over the most common fears people have with quitting their job to travel the world. I also included solutions, motivation, and inspiration to help you shift away from those fears and empower you to travel the world.
Table of Contents
Fear of not being able to afford it.
There are so many ways to afford traveling the world. You can travel in inexpensive ways, you can make money while traveling, you can find travel hacks to help cut costs so you can travel with little to no money. You can travel the world on just $20-$30/day and even go cheaper if you wanted to. A lot of people think they can’t travel because of money, but most of the time its mindset. If you truly wanted to travel, there are ways to do it and to be able to afford it. When we truly want something, we always find a way to make it happen.
Fear of upsetting your family/friends.
This was also one of the main contributors to why I didn’t quit my job to travel the world sooner. Although I am financially independent, my parents’ approval matters a lot to me. Especially growing up in an Asian household, family approval is everything. For many years my parents didn’t approve and told me that it was a horrible idea. So I listened.
In addition, I felt so guilty quitting my job. I knew my department was very short-staffed. My boss also went through so many hoops to get me to work there. I felt guilty and afraid to let my boss down.
I saw a quote that really resonated with me when I was going through a hard time at work. It was something along the lines of… “don’t stress and kill yourself over a job that would replace you in a second”. It really made me realize that I was putting my career and my job over the quality of my life and my mental health. Why would I prioritize a career over myself when they would just replace me in a second?
I want to remind you that this is your life. Although your family, friends, boss, and whoever’s approval matters to you, it’s ultimately your life. You’re the one that has to live it. In the end, that’s all that matters – how you want to live your life.
Fear of being alone or lonely.
Unless you’re going to a deserted island or going to some isolated place, you will constantly be around people. You will be around people at your accommodation, sightseeing, walking around, eating, on your transportation, etc. Since you will constantly be around people, you have endless opportunities to make friends and not be alone.
Now, I know you might be thinking, “well, that’s not what I mean… I will still feel lonely” or “but I don’t know how to put myself out there and make friends with these people” and I totally get it. I didn’t want to be alone, lonely, or bored and I can be really shy so making friends and putting myself out there was not something I was comfortable with.
To fix that, I put myself in situations where it’d be easier to make friends and where I didn’t have to focus on putting myself out there. For example, find a hostel that has good activities for its guests. The activities are meant to get the hostel guests together and interact. Some hostels offer free food, free happy hour, free walking tours, game nights, etc. Putting yourself in those situations is a great way to make friends and not feel pressured to go out and start conversations with everyone. If you’re not staying in hostels, you can see if the free activities are open to the public and you can still participate in the events.
Fear of it being dangerous.
I’m going to be real with you… I am the biggest scaredy-cat ever. I get startled when someone walks around the corner, I’m afraid of the dark, and I get really scared being alone in my own house. So trust me when I say that this was a fear I had as well. We always hear scary and horror stories of people abroad, or how dangerous a country can be. But when you hear about places being dangerous, it’s usually from the news or someone who heard from someone who heard from someone else that it was dangerous.
Everyone told me India was dangerous and it wasn’t safe to go. I am so glad I didn’t listen to them and went to India because I never once felt scared or felt like I was in a dangerous situation. My point to this is to take these concerns you hear with a grain of salt.
You can do things to ensure you’re safe. For example, you can research your own on the country’s safety. You can travel to destinations that are great for solo travelers. You can reach out to people who have actually traveled there and see what their experience was like (even then, I would still take their opinions with a grain of salt). You can do safety precautions like not walk alone at night, stay in the city where there are more people, make friends so you can travel with someone, and learn how to look out for scams.
I will say – I feel more scared in my home country than I do abroad. I also live in one of the safest cities in California and I still am more scared of being there than when I am traveling abroad.
Fear of something happening to them.
Something can happen to you while you’re traveling, but something also can happen to you where you’re from. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean more bad things will happen to you. But I get it – this is a valid concern and fear to have. We usually fear the worst things happening to us. If you can pinpoint exactly what you’re fearing will happen, you can plan accordingly and be prepared so that doesn’t happen to you.
It’s good to switch your mindset to something more productive, more positive, and something that leaves you feeling good rather than bad. I have a post-it on my computer that says “wait to worry. Why worry twice?” and it’s true. There are so many times where I think the worst is going to happen. But what does that serve me? There’s no real purpose or gain from this. There’s nothing I can do so why put myself through the emotions twice. Wait to worry when it actually happens.
I also always recommend getting travel insurance and that way you will be covered and have the appropriate care if needed.
Fear of not having a good time.
Traveling the world isn’t a lifetime commitment. You can always come home if you’re not liking it. It’s important to remember that you are in full control of your trip. You make the rules… it’s your trip. If you are not enjoying it, you don’t have to stay there. You can move on to another city, or another country, you can do a different activity, or you can even go back home.
There is absolutely no shame in finding out that you actually don’t like it and want to go home. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. But I will say, please give it some time to adjust. It’s a big and new adjustment to getting used to doing. It might be different and uncomfortable at first, and you might perceive that as not liking it, but please give it a shot and make sure you fully don’t like it versus getting used to something new.
I also want to plug in something here… I have a really good feeling you might end up falling in love with it and won’t want to return. A lot of people actually end up wanting to prolong their trip or make it part of their lifestyle. So keep that in mind as well – that you potentially might end up loving it.
Fear of letting go of security.
This is a big one and one of the top reasons why I didn’t want to quit my job to travel. I had a pension, amazing benefits, a great salary, and one of the most secure jobs ever – a government job. Letting go of security was really hard for me to do and often gave me a lot of anxiety because of it.
Have you ever heard of the term “golden handcuffs”? It’s basically when a company offers financial motivation and incentives to stay at your company and not leave. So when you think of the security, benefits, and everything you’re afraid of letting go of as something that a company purposely has to “handcuff you to the company”, it helps you view the situation a lot differently.
There are solutions to everything though. If you’re afraid of letting go of insurance, you can look for low-cost insurance. If you’re afraid of letting go of a paycheck, you can work and make money. There are always solutions to every obstacle we have.
Fear of missing events back at home.
FOMO is real and I get it. Unfortunately, you will most likely miss out on some events back home. This may be a concern for you while you’re still home, but while you’re traveling, you’re most likely going to be having the time of your life on some beach somewhere drinking out of a coconut that you won’t be sad that you’re missing out on some events.
If you really don’t want to miss out, see if you can virtually attend the event. Ask if someone can bring you along and have you on the phone/computer screen so you can be there virtually. Or if you really don’t want to miss out, you can fly back home. Like I said before, the great thing about your round-the-world trip is that it’s your trip. You can go back home if you want to. There are no rules saying you can’t fly back home multiple times to participate in big events.
Fear of leaving your career.
Don’t think of this round-the-world trip as you are quitting your job forever. Think of it as a career break. You are just taking a career break to travel the world. When you are done, you will go back home and will pick up where you left off and continue on with your career. This isn’t a permanent thing that you’re doing forever, this is just a career break to travel. It’s also a great way to come back refreshed. You know how some people say they’re more focused after they get back from a vacation? Imagine what a career break could do to you.
I also want you to remember… your career will always be there, but time won’t.
Fear of giving up something you worked so hard in.
This is also something that I really struggled with. I worked really hard to get to where I was. I spent a lot of money and invested in a lot of education so I could land my *dream* job (…at the time) and I finally had the career that I worked so hard to get! It was really hard to give up something that I spent so many years trying to achieve. Just because you invested so much time, energy, money, and your life to get to where you are, doesn’t mean you need to stay there for the rest of your life. Similar to a toxic relationship, you wouldn’t stay in a toxic environment just because you already invested so much time and life together, right? Same thing with your career.
I saw a Tik Tok from Hadley who is a nurse that relays this information perfectly. The story was about a lawyer who within 1 year of being a lawyer realized he hated his job. When he was rethinking his career, his friends and family told him, “you just spent so many years becoming a lawyer. It would be stupid to quit now.” So he spent over 50 years practicing law. It could have been 1 miserable year, but instead, he spent 50 years being miserable in his job he didn’t like. So what was his advice? His advice was to not continue to do something that makes you unhappy just because you’ve invested time into it.
Fear of what if it doesn’t work out and you regret it.
Let’s rephrase this to – but what if it does work out? What if you end up loving it? What if you find yourself? What if you come back a better, more rounded person because of it? What if it leads you to something even greater that’s not even on your horizon yet? There are endless opportunities of what if it does work out.
Too often we regret things we didn’t do more so than we regret the things we did do. I would hate for you to continue life wondering what if you went on that trip and regretting not going after it.
Maybe it doesn’t work out, but that’s okay. Isn’t it better to know that it didn’t work out versus wondering your whole life what it could be like? When things don’t go our way or don’t go as planned, it’s just setting us up for something greater and bigger for us.
I want you to remember that having these fears are okay and valid to have. But I also want you to remember that having these fears are what keeps us from going after what we want and staying in our comfort zone. Growth and amazing things happen from stepping out of our comfort zone and following our hearts. If you are wanting to quit your job to travel the world, I want you to join my waitlist to learn how you can travel the world full-time and long-term. You will learn all the tools, hacks, and a step-by-step process on how to make this dream of yours a reality.
What are some other fears you have with traveling? Let me know in the comments and I’ll come up with a solution, words of inspiration, or motivation for you to help you work through it.
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